7th Annual IIG Awards
There was no seven year itch for the IIG. The Iggies were still going strong, and we had another star-studded event. Musician Eric Schwartz opened the evening with a few of his delirious songs. We then saw the first appearance of “Denise” the overly aggressive stage manager of the Steve Allen Theater (actually actress Kipleigh Brown) who interrupted to show often to make sure we were in compliance with the L.A. fire code. Veteran Hollywood theater-goers instantly recognized this character, and Denise made sure the seventh annual IIG awards show was the most unpredictable of the bunch.
America’s favorite satirical web The Onion was finally recognized for the skeptical tone some of its most memorable articles. Comedian Matt Kirschen presented the award to Editor in Chief Will Tracy, who sent us the following acceptance letter:
The Onion would like to thank you all for honoring us with this award. The Onion would also like to thank God Almighty, The Divine Creator, our Lord and Heavenly Father, for his everlasting beneficence. May he strike down everyone in this theater with the undying wrath and fury of the cosmos. May his mercy be absent. May the Steve Allen Theater be engulfed in a searing panoply of hellfire and ash. May the undead corpse of Steve Allen himself rise from Earth's deep, dark bosom and burst into flames before your sinners' eyes. You who art skeptics shall pay for your lack of faith, as all skeptics have for time immemorial. And The Onion shall watch you burn.
Love and Kisses,
Truly Terrible Television
Matt Kirshen returned to present a TTTV to the current beacon of pseudo-science on the tube — “The Dr. Phil Show” — and it was an IIG first as one of the episodes “honored” with the award featured IIG executive director Jim Underdown. Underdown was the token skeptic, and his voice of reason was edited into weak tea — a common experience. The eponymous Dr. Phil McGraw himself arrived to accept the award (although cynics claim it was podcast star Emery Emery with a mustache and a Texas accent). Underdown and Dr. Phil got into a row, which resulted in Dr. Phil being ejected by the surprisingly strong Denise.
For the first time ever, a foreign production was honored, as comedienne Kira Soltanovich presented an Iggie to “The Hamster Wheel” — an Australian news parody show that hilariously lampoons the eccentricities of shoddy journalism, which is apparently as pervasive down under as it is in the states. Andrew Hansen, Chas Licciardello, Julian Morrow — three of the producer/performers from “The Hamster Wheel” (collectively known as “The Chaser") sent in a video acceptance speech.
FX’s hilarious comedy “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” was honored for the episode “Charlie’s Mom Has Cancer” which managed to mock quackery and religion as two sides of the same coin. Soltanovich presented the Iggie to that episode’s director Richie Keen, who spoke at length about being iconoclastic on American television.
Houdini Hall of Honor
Kipleigh Brown (apparently Denise left the building) and her husband, comedian Emo Phillips, inducted the first woman into the HHH, and Eugenie Scott took the stage to accept the honor, and wow the audience with her optimism and spirit. Dr. Scott has run the National Center for Science Education, and has been the number one fighter for the teaching of evolution in the public schools since Clarence Darrow argued the Scopes Monkey Trials. A video featured a congratulations from Richard Dawkins, George Hrab, Richard Saunders, Barbara Drescher, James Randi and Ray Hyman.
In the proud tradition of HHH inductees who show up in person, Scott stayed until midnight to answer questions from rabid admirers. That was it for the Magnificent Seven (the title of the event and the nickname for the six entertainers and one scientist who starred in the event).